Research and production corporation “United Wagon Company” (“UWC”, the Company or the Holding) (MOEX: UWGN) will supply new generation platforms for transportation of timber products to six industrial enterprises and transport companies. A total of 548 freight cars will be shipped before the end of the first quarter of 2018.
The freight cars will be built by the Company’s manufacturing subsidiary, TikhvinSpetsMash. The supply contracts are as follows: 330 cars to the railway operator Lokotrans; 50 cars to the transport company, DV Real Trans Group; 55 cars to ARKHBUM, which makes high-quality cardboard packaging for various industries; 50 units to the transport company, Sibirsky Krai; 43 cars to the international producer of packaging materials and paper, Mondi Group; and 20 units to the logging company, VIK.
The platforms were designed by specialists of the All-Union Research and Development Centre for Transportation Technology (part of United Wagon Company). Payload capacity has been increased to 74 tons and body space to 122 m3, enabling carriage of up to 10 more cargo cubes compared with older freight cars. Tariff rules for transportation using specialized platforms and technical features of the platform (their length is within the statutory limit of 14.6 metres) reduce the average cost of transporting 1 ton of cargo in direct proportion to the growth of cargo capacity.
The end wall of the platform body is made from a single piece of steel sheet with a horizontal beam for external reinforcement. This protects the cargo from deformation and stops it protruding beyond the wall. Apertures in the skin of the end wall enable rapid inspection of the cargo at customs control points. The side wall rack is designed to reduce ‘parasitic’ cargo volume and maximize loading of the freight car.
The floor of the new freight car is designed for ease of cleaning, prevents cargo residues falling onto the track and has drainage holes to prevent build-up of moisture. The rack construction enables transport of packaged cargoes. Bogies have axle load of 25 tons, which offers maintenance savings throughout the 40-year service life of the freight car (the operating period up to the first scheduled depot servicing of a new generation car is eight years or 800,000 km, compared with three years or 210,000 km for older models).
Overall, the technical and economic advantages offered by the new platforms from TikhvinSpetsMash enable owners to reduce fleet size and increase turnover, significantly reducing transport and maintenance costs.
The CEO of DV Real Trans Group commented:
"We intend to expand our rail car fleet and are working with UWC on possible manufacture of rolling stock that is tailor-made to our needs. With the help of UWC designers, we will make various improvements to design of the freight car, which take account of what can be done using available production technologies. We hope to order 300 more platforms built by TikhvinSpetsMash next year.”
Market experts report that Russia’s fleet of platforms for transportation of timber products has grown by more than 10% to 24,200 units since the start of 2017. The growing demand for platforms reflects increase in volumes of forest product shipping, mainly due to export demand from China. Also, about 5000 older freight cars are due to be written off at the end of their service life over the next five years. This will magnify the effect from growth of cargo volumes, further increasing demand for new timber cars. Russian rolling-stock manufacturers are ready to respond to the surge in demand with adequate supply of new generation cars.